Facebook is shutting down its text-based virtual assistant called ‘M’ that helped researchers train an Artificial Intelligence (AI) system. According to a report in The Verge, ‘M’ which was available through a bot on Facebook Messenger and it was available to only about 2,000 people.
‘M’ was first introduced in August 2015. The final day of the virtual assistant will be January 19. “We launched this project to learn what people needed and expected of an assistant, and we learned a lot,” Facebook told The Verge. “We’re taking these useful insights to power other AI projects at Facebook. We continue to be very pleased with the performance of ‘M’ suggestions in Messenger, powered by our learnings from this experiment.”
Facebook had described ‘M’ as a ‘beta’ and suggested the human-powered assistant would be available for more users. According to The Wired, M was meant to enable artificial intelligence, though the report suggests that M never crossed upto 30 per cent automation. The report further states that unlike popular virtual assistants like Amazon’s Alexa or Google’s Assistant, M was never set to answer a limited number of queries. The increasing popularity of voice-based digital assistants made M redundant, the report says.